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Introduction  |  Natural History

Natural History of Nepal

The miraculous powers of nature have never left the Himalayan country of Nepal. By virtue of its geographical location it is a place of many ecological contrasts. The sub-tropical evergreen forests of Sal wood in the lowlands of the Terai and in the north Nepal has space for bamboo thickets and rhododendrons.

Nepal's forests are dense, its wildlife varied and exotic. One hundred and sixty species of mammals including 30 different kinds of large mammals inhabit these forests, along with more than 800 species of birds. The mammalian fauna of Nepal includes many unique and endangered species: the Blue Sheep of the Dolpa region, Swamp Deer or Barasingha of the Shukila Phanta; the Great One-horned Rhinoceros of the Royal Chitwan National Park; the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Terai jungles; Wild Buffalo from Koshi Tappu; Snow Leopard, Red Panda and Musk Deer of the Himalayan region.

Apart from the fabulous and doubtful existent of the Yeti - a mystery remaining to be discovered, other ecologically unique Himalayan fauna include: Himalayan Tahr, Ghoral, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Marmot.

These high altitude forests are home to some of the most amazing birds in the world, including eight different species of spectacularly beautiful pheasants. The Danphe or Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus) is the highest living pheasant of Nepal and is the country's national bird. Other species including Koklass or Phukras pheasant, Cheer pheasant. Nepali Kaleej are also found here in the scrub jungle between 1,500 to 8,000 ft. Red Jungle Fowl, the ancestral stock of domestic chicken and Blue Peafowl can be found in the lower belt. Rose finches and thrushes nest on the grassy slopes above the glacier floor.

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Photos by Dr. Paul Sterry (www.naturephotographers.co.uk), Tim Loseby & Nick Bray
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